Athlete of the Week: Grace Curran
Grace Curran, a senior from Taylor, Wisconsin, put in a strong performance in all three of her running events on Saturday at the Hamline Invitational. Curran finished fifth in the 100m dash with a time of 12.73 seconds and No. 12 in the 200m at 26.60 seconds. She also ran a great season opener of 16.38 seconds in the 100m hurdles.
The Student Voice sat down with Curran to discuss her first performance of the outdoor season and her goals for her final season on the track.
Q: How many years have you been sprinting at UW-River Falls? Which events have you run?
A: I’ve been in track since I was a freshman. I originally came in as a hurdler for freshman and sophomore year. Last season, I transitioned over to the sprint side of things, and I’ve been a sprinter up until this past indoor season. This outdoor season, I’m going to be transitioning over to the multi, which are the combined events.
Q: What is the multi and how many events do you compete in?
A: It’s where you do seven events in one track meet, and it’s based on points in these events: 100m hurdles, 200m, 800m, long jump, high jump, shot put and javelin. It’s over two days, with four events the first day and three events the second day, so I’ll be learning a lot of new things.
Q: What made you choose sprinting over other events?
A: I was a hurdler through high school, so I never really did any open sprints. I finally convinced my coach to let me do a sprint race at the end of my sophomore year, and I was kind of good. Then he let me do both sprints and hurdles. With the new coach last year, I asked if I could just do sprints because it was more fun at the time, and I was definitely better at it than I was at hurdles. I like learning new things, and it keeps it interesting to learn new events.
Q: How did it feel to put in a pretty solid performance in your first meet back on the track?
A: It was really good. I was really surprised with the marks that I got, and I hadn’t done the hurdles in over a year. I came back and almost got to my PR (personal record). I almost got to my PR in the 200 and wasn’t too far off in the 100. I’m not used to doing that many events in a track meet, but they’re starting to ramp up how many events I do to get me ready for the multi. It was fun to not have to focus on one thing too much.
Q: What felt strong about your races on Saturday? Was there anything you noticed that worked the same as in practice?
A: In the hurdles, we’d been working to get me to three step the whole race, which is getting three steps between each hurdle. I was able to actually do it all the way through, but by the end I was definitely stretching. We’d been working with that a lot in practice. For the 200, the start wasn’t great, and I noticed some of the girls were ahead of me by the end of the curve. I’ve been improving on my finish and keeping my arms moving, and I passed a few girls that way.
Q: How different is it going from running the 100m and 200m to the 100m hurdles? Is it easier to do more than one event in a day?
A: I think it’s easier because if I do one sprint it helps warm me up. I’m not fatigued at the end of the 100, and it helps me stretch my legs out and get things moving from one race to the next. Otherwise, you’re thinking about one event all day, but instead I was just focusing on getting to the next event.
Q: What are your expectations for the team this outdoor season?
A: I think we have a pretty good team going in. It’s definitely a challenge, because pretty much all the WIAC schools are bigger than us and have more numbers. We’re all putting up good marks, and us older ones should be able to get back to our PRs. We’ve had some really good distance runners, and the ladies that have come in the past few years are really hard workers, and it’s fun to see how much they’ve improved.
Q: What goals are you trying to accomplish in your senior season? What can you still improve on in the coming weeks?
A: I’m trying to just do something different, because I originally came in to do the multi. It’s cool to see how everything comes full circle and happens how it’s supposed to. My coaches tell me I can place at conference in [the multi], so I think it’ll be fun to see how it actually happens.
Q: What impact do you think you’ve made on the team? What will you remember most about your time on the track and field team after you finish your senior season?
A: As someone who has been here all four years, I hope I’m remembered as a leader and someone who sticks up for their teammates. One of my personal goals this year is to stay positive. The thing I’ll remember most is the friendships and bonds I’ve made here. My main friend group is my team, and I met my fiancé on the track team. We both have this group who has supported us on this journey.